Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)
TITLE: Joylynn's Special Room
By Sharon Henderson
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There was just one room left to renovate. This room had to be special. It had to be different.
When Joylynn was very young, she felt the call to missions work. She studied hard to learn the memory verses in her Sunday School books. In school, she took Spanish and French, sure that one language or the other would help her once she was appointed ‘to the field’.
Every summer she went on youth missions trips to ‘exotic’ places like the Appalachian Mountains and inner city Atlanta, Georgia. While not really exotic, these trips confirmed for Joylynn that she was born to serve as a missionary. Nothing in her life gave her as much zeal for living as when she served a meal to a homeless person or when she taught a poor mountain girl how to plant a garden or sew a dress.
Joylynn’s first opportunity for foreign missions came right after her freshman year of college. Or it would have been an opportunity. Devastated does not begin to describe the disappointment and frustration she felt when she received the results of a routine physical. The results came in just two weeks before she was scheduled to fly to Haiti to work on rebuilding a church that had been destroyed by a hurricane the year before.
Her doctor explained to her that she had a heart condition that needed immediate surgery and would require her to remain on medication for the rest of her life. With proper care, she could live a ‘normal’ life -- get married, have a family -- but she would always need to live close to high-quality heart care facility.
No trip to Haiti and no life on the foreign mission field. However, Joylynn did not give up on her missions dream. She continued to look for ways to serve her Lord closer to home. Much closer to home. That’s when she had ‘the idea’.
This was her idea…if she could not go to the mission field, she would welcome the mission field into her home. One day she would have an extra room in her home dedicated to missions. Her vision for this room included everything from housing missionaries home on furlough, to helping a homeless unwed mother through her pregnancy, to providing overnight housing for a stranded out-of-town motorist. This was the room that she was currently renovating. This was the room that had to be both different and special.
As Joylynn headed out to the home improvement store to look for decorating ideas, she reflected on her calling. As a young person, unaware of what life held for her, she thought for sure that her spiritual gifts were teaching and evangelism, with some leadership thrown in for good measure. She would need those gifts to be successful as a foreign missionary. Through her growing up years and early years of marriage, her real gifts became clear. Her gifts would also be the name for this very special room. There would never be any doubt why this room was part of her home.
“As soon as I finish decorating this room, I’m going to put a sign on the door. The sign will simply state ‘Welcome to our Helps and Hospitality room’.” Joylynn would indeed be a missionary…right here at home…in her own home.
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